Makita and The Home Depot sent over a bunch of Makita’s new Impact Gold bits and accessories for us to try out, as well as a shiny new LXDT06 impact driver.
These bits first caught my attention a while back, and I am glad to see Makita pushing the line forward with new 3/8″ sockets, nutsetters, and accessories.
The Makita Impact Gold Difference
Bit Tip Engineering – after machining, these bits are deburred and corrected. In practice, this means higher bit tip precision and great consistency between bits. Bit-fastener engagement is exceptionally good.
Bit Geometry – Makita Impact Gold screwdriver bits are designed with a torsion zone that helps prevent bit tip damage by flexing slightly under load during high torque applications.
With standard impact bits, torsional forces build up near the tips and can lead to bit breakage or fastener damage. With these bits, the torsional forces are directed to the reduced-diameter so-called torsion zone. The energy is stored elastically and is transferred to the fastener once resistive forces ease.
Impact Gold bits are made from a special Tatara steel alloy, which seems to behave like a high performance hardened tool steel. Between applications, Impact Gold bits are not deformed; the torsion zone flexing is temporary.
Lasts up to 10X Longer – Makita claims that these bits last up to 10X longer than standard steel bits. That’s not something I can easily validate, but what I have seen is that these bits do wear appreciably slower than other brands’ standard impact bits.
Makita Impact Gold Bit Holders
To get a feel for the new Impact Gold bits, I started off by doing some A vs. B comparison testing. I reached into my tool box and pulled out a set of Dewalt impact-rated screwdriver bits ($38pc, $26 via Amazon).
After driving in and removing a few longer screws, I turned my attention to a pair of self-drilling screws. I drove the screws in, examined the wear on the bit, and then went to reverse them out. At the halfway point I lifted the impact driver away from the fastener, and the bit stayed with the screw!
This brings me to one of the best parts of Makita’s Impact Gold Ultra Magnetic bit holder – excellent bit retention.
Bit retention with this holder is impressive, thanks to a ring on the inside that snaps around the insert bits’ grooves. Removing bits the first few times required an aid, such as long nose pliers or the impact driver’s belt hook. I didn’t grab and pull on the bits, I pried them forward to avoid damaging them, using step created by the torsion step as the contact point. After having to use an aid the first times, I was then able to remove bits by hand.
Makita bundles their 21pc bit set with an Ultra Magnetic bit holder, which is also available separately, and you can also buy a standard bit holder. The standard bit holder features a large torsion zone, and can be used to prolong the life of other brands’ standard non-torsion zone impact screwdriver bits.
The Impact Gold Ultra Magnetic bit holder has two components – the bit holder itself, and a plastic sleeve that slides over it. The magnetic sleeve has a rare earth neodymium magnet (securely) embedded at the front.
You can use the Ultra Magnetic bit holder without its plastic sleeve if you’d like. Actually, I prefer to leave this part off when using the bit holder and bit for fastener removal, as it does block bit tip visibility.
For bit insertion or removal, the plastic sleeve must be removed.
Makita’s Ultra Magnetic bit holder retains fasteners better than any other magnetic bit holder I have ever tried before. Part of this is thanks to the magnetic sleeve design, but the high precision bits tips’ exceptional fastener engagement also come into play.
The bit holder did a great job of holding longer narrow-head fasteners in place…
and smaller screws with larger heads as well.
The bit case is a little large, but much smaller than some of the hard-shell bit cases in my tool bag. What I like about the case is how it pops up for easier bit selection, and folds flat for transport or storage. When popped open, there are two compartments that can be used to temporarily hold loose bits or small fasteners.
It holds up to (10) 1-inch insert bits, and while designed for the Ultra Magnetic bit holder, it holds some other 1/4″ hex bit holders just fine.
Makita is very excited about their new Impact Gold screwdriver bits and accessories, and Home Depot seems very excited to carry and promote them. After testing and using some of the new Impact Gold power tool accessories, including a set of impact sockets I purchased a month ago, I can certainly see why.
Compared to “standard” impact screwdriver bits, Makita Impact Gold bits fit fasteners better and last longer. The differences are more noticeable with Phillips bits than Torx and Robertson (square) ones, but the advantages are clear.
These are the best impact-rated screwdriver bits I have used, and the Impact Gold Ultra Magnetic and standard bit holders are the best impact-rated bit holders I have ever used as well. To clarify, when I say best, I mean best fitting, most user-friendly, and most durable (from what I can tell).
I don’t drive so many fasteners that I need to buy bulk bit packs, but I have been frustrated by broken and quickly-worn insert bits in the past. Yesteryear’s bits were not designed to endure the power today’s high torque impact drivers can deliver. These bits were.
My mind is not yet made up about the gold coating, but it at least makes the bits a little easier to clean. I certainly don’t mind the coating, but have not yet determined whether the finish is more functional or decorative.
Ultimately, I am quite impressed with the performance of Makita’s Impact Gold bits and accessories. Comparing them to premium impact bits (such as Wiha Terminator bits) is a little trickier and will require a lot more time and real-world testing, but the advantages over run-of-the-mill bits are clear and substantial.
The Impact Gold lineup also includes:
- Non-magnetic nutsetters
- a 3/8″ inch socket set
- 3/8″ and 1/2″ tilt socket adapters (wobble-style)
- Double-ended 2″ power bits (coming soon)
I would like to see Makita come out with some single-end Impact Gold power bits, but I suppose double-ended bits offer much greater bang for the buck.
Exception: I have found that reduced-diameter bits, such as the Dewalt PR2 bit shown above, better engage certain fasteners with modified Phillips-style recesses, such as Spax #8 x 2″ self-drilling screws.
Disclosure: Makita partnered with bloggers such as me for their tool review program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time**. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any product mentioned in these posts. Makita believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Makita’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.
**ToolGuyd is not accepting compensation for this review or to host a giveaway. The review opportunity was accepted without mention of compensation, and it was made clear that ToolGuyd intended to evaluate the products, publish related reviews, and host a sponsored product giveaway for free, in accordance with ToolGuyd policies. However, I/ToolGuyd will be receiving compensation in the form of gift cards for agreeing to a signed content release that allows for commercial reproduction of copyrighted ToolGuyd content created as part of this review. A signed content release was required for ToolGuyd to take part in this review and giveaway opportunity. Makita and The Home Depot also consider product samples to be a form of compensation, although we do not.